ascetic was our Word of the Day on 04/12/2008. Hear the podcast!
Examples of ascetic in a sentence
Patterson's collection begins on the walls of the stairway to his basement. “That's where Cindy draws the line. That's probably a real good idea,” he says. Mattsson, ascetic for a bachelor, imposes the same rule on himself. LeBeau, who has never been married, is much less restrained. —Tom Harpole, Air & Space, December 1999/January 2000
By Hollywood standards, Calley's career path may seem enigmatic, but then, so is his personality. If Mark Canton, the previous Sony president, was the boastful, Armani-clad big spender, Calley is downright ascetic, a man who disdains Hollywood profligacy. —Peter Bart, GQ, August 1997
He converted to Catholicism and, after a long period of intense self-questioning, became a Trappist monk at the Abbey of Gethsemani in Kentucky, which, at the time, was as ascetic and demanding as any monastery of the Middle Ages. —Julius Lester, Falling Pieces of the Broken Sky, 1990
Did You Know?
Ascetic comes from "askētikos," a Greek adjective meaning "laborious," and ultimately traces back to the Greek verb askein, which means "exercise" or "work." There aren't many other English words from "askein," but there's no dearth of synonyms for "ascetic." "Severe" and "austere," for example, are two words that share with "ascetic" the basic meaning "given to or marked by strict discipline and firm restraint." "Ascetic" implies abstention from pleasure, comfort, or self-indulgence as a spiritual discipline, whereas "severe" implies standards enforced without indulgence or laxity and may suggest harshness (as in "severe military discipline"). "Austere" stresses absence of warmth, color, or feeling and may apply to rigorous restraint, simplicity, or self-denial (as in "living an austere life in the country").
Origin and Etymology of ascetic
Greek askētikos, literally, laborious, from askētēs one that exercises, hermit, from askein to work, exercise
First Known Use: 1646
Synonym Discussion of ascetic
ASCETIC Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of ascetic for English Language Learners
: relating to or having a strict and simple way of living that avoids physical pleasure
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